WASHINGTON, D.C.—By a four-to-one margin, an overwhelming majority of Americans support the use of federal loan guarantees to encourage investment in the clean-energy technologies identified by President Obama in his recent State of the Union address, a new national survey shows.
The survey found that 79 percent of respondents agree that, “to jump-start investment and maintain U.S. competitiveness, the federal government should provide guarantees backing loans for building solar, wind, advanced-design nuclear power plants or other energy technology that reduces greenhouse gases.” Nineteen percent of those surveyed do not agree, and two percent don’t know.
Those who “strongly agree” outnumber those who “strongly disagree” by a similarly lopsided margin, 46 percent to 10 percent.
The energy-focused telephone survey of 1,000 U.S. adults was conducted Feb. 10-13 by Bisconti Research Inc./GfK Roper for the Nuclear Energy Institute. Complete survey results will be available next week. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.
The Department of Energy’s budget request for fiscal 2012, unveiled earlier this week, increases to $54.5 billion the amount of federal loan guarantees to be accessed by companies planning to build new nuclear power plants.
“The American people clearly believe the federal government should work proactively to secure a stronger energy future for our nation,” said NEI President and Chief Executive Officer Marvin Fertel.
“Loan guarantees are a tremendously efficient way to mobilize private capital. Properly administered and priced, the loan guarantee program can leverage tens of billions of dollars of private investment and produce hundreds of millions of dollars in fees to the federal government from companies developing new nuclear power plants. This will create thousands of jobs during construction and operation and will support the rejuvenation and expansion of our national infrastructure to manufacture components for U.S. and global markets.”
This is the second consecutive year that the Obama administration has sought to increase the loan guarantee volume for new nuclear plants in recognition that nuclear energy is a proven, reliable, carbon-free source of electricity. Nuclear power plants operating in 31 states provide 20 percent of all U.S. electricity, and 70 percent of the electricity that comes from low-carbon sources.
In his State of the Union address on Jan. 26, Obama called for 80 percent of America’s electricity to come from clean-energy sources by 2035.